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Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Moving On

On Sunday night, when I got home from a visit to my sister's in San Diego, Caris wanted a little "sit down" visit. She came into my room, closed the door, plopped herself down on our bed, hugged a pillow, crossed her legs, and sighed. For the next two hours, my daughter and I chatted. It was, in a word; wonderful. There was nothing wrong, no mountain-moving event, no drama. It began as a "Hey Mommy, how was your weekend?" kind of thing, and moved on to just every little thing. Life in general, work, people who suck, people who are awesome, plans for the future, the ebbs and flows of our days and of those who share our breathing space on this big, blue, marble we call home. I love these days when my kids just seek Charlie or I out for some talk time. I cherish them. Especially as they move into adulthood and I see through the words in our conversations the growth and maturity. It is times like these when I feel a kind of reward for those tough days of parenting.

As I sat and listened to my daughter talk about her weekend and every other thing under the sun, I felt a sense of gratitude. She asked the questions young people ask as they experience day to day frustrations with the world; "Why are some people such jerks?" and "Don't you just want to hit people sometimes?" It wouldn't be entirely truthful if I were to say to her that I didn't want to let "The Bitch" out every now and then and open a can of whoop ass on someone. But I came back to what I've always known to be the truth; communication is everything. It is far more difficult to do the right thing; to approach a problem head-on, to talk. It has been the backbone of my relationship with my husband. The one thing we've always promised to do. However difficult it may be, whatever feelings come to the surface, you've got to get it out or it will either make you crazy, angry, or resentful. No good comes from that.

It's a story we hear over and over again from the kids. That we've set the bar high. That none of their friends parents have the kind of relationship they see from us. That they worry that they will never find that kind of connection with another person. We make it look easy. I thought about that. Perhaps we've done them a disservice. Then I thought; no, we've done it exactly right. I told her what she and her siblings already know is the truth; talk it out. Talk EVERYTHING out. Yeah, sometimes it's shitty. After all, no one wants to hear where they fail and that part always brings out the worst. The walls can go up and the defenses are on guard. We've looked at it as our responsibility to make sure the other person knows that we're not going anywhere. We're in it for the long haul and nothing is more important than what we've built. Nothing is more important than knowing that someone's got your back in the very worst of times. For us, there is no walking away. It isn't easy. It's damn hard work. But it's worth it because I really cannot imagine growing old with anyone else. I know that's how Charlie feels about it too. How do I know? We talk. Even if what is said is something we don't want to hear. That's the deal. That's always been the deal.

I wish it were like that with every relationship...like work, or friendships. But unfortunately, as I told Caris in our talk the other night, sometimes there are things you cannot talk about with some people. You can try, but sometimes they either aren't ready or just don't want to hear it. I guess that's a key as well. But that's their thing, not yours. You can't FORCE someone to hear you and really listening is far more imporant than hearing. It's an art, isn't it, this communication thing? It takes a bit of wisdom and a whole lot of discernment. I suppose that's something else that comes with time.

Finally, Charlie showed up at the bedroom door all sleepy-eyed and asked us if we were done. Caris and I laughed. Yeah, for now. Until the next time which I hope will come soon. Because nothing is better than a good talk.